Orient-Express Goes for Growth, Snaps Up Pair of Properties for $117M

Bermuda-based hotelier Orient-Express this week confirmed that it has completed the purchase of the Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea, both in Taormina, Sicily. Orient-Express bought the pair of properties from The Framon Group for a combined $117 million.

February 5, 2010
By Allison Landa, News Editor

From Orient-Express website

Bermuda-based hotelier Orient-Express this week confirmed that it has completed the purchase of the Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea, both in Taormina, Sicily. Orient-Express bought the pair of properties from The Framon Group for a combined $117 million.

The acquisition caps a year of consolidation and a return to the growth cycle, according to HotelNewsNow.com. Orient-Express president and CEO Paul White told the publication that the strategy was a means of dealing with the global recession over the past year and a half.

That strategy also includes shedding properties that are not considered beneficial to the company’s portfolio. When announcing the two purchases this week, Orient-Express confirmed that it had sold an Australian property, Lilianfels Blue Mountains, to Lilianfels Hotel Pty LTD for $19.3 million. Other assets that have been sold include the Lapa Palace Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal along with the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.

“The sale of Lilianfels, and the sale of other non-core assets in 2009, significantly strengthened our balance sheet,” White said in a statement. He asserted confidence that the firm can improve performance at both new properties in Sicily.

Orient-Express owns or partly owns and manages fifty luxury hotels, restaurants, tourist trains and river cruise properties operating in 24 countries.